THAT ARMY-NAVY SURPLUS VEST CARRIES NO LEGAL AUTHORITY

Easily the most disturbing part of a disturbing Saturday for this country was watching the tame police response to white men marching around as a heavily armed "militia." You have the Governor of a large state explicitly admitting to reporters that the police stood on the sidelines while people were beaten and killed – which I'm pretty sure falls under any definition of a riot – because they claimed they were outgunned by fat white losers in eBay tactical gear.

Really? Because in Ferguson the police were able to summon up almost out of thin air armored vehicles from Operation Iraqi Freedom, snipers, military-caliber rifles, and more body armor than anyone thought the Kevlar industry was capable of producing. Police militarization is nationwide and totally out of control. Yet here the police responsible for handling a literal Nazi rally claimed they just couldn't stand up to someone's unemployed biker uncle.

When black people riot, "We heard they might have guns" is all the justification needed for any level of violence short of air strikes. Gas, skull-cracking riot police, armored vehicles, you name it…all because someone torched the payday loan place in a strip mall. In Charlottesville a person was actually killed by one of the marchers, yet the police did what they always do when white guys decide that they want to play GI Joe while avoiding all that pesky exercise that the military requires: They let their silence and inaction serve as a tacit endorsement.

Are all of the cops who were present simpatico with Nazis? Of course not. But they're more than willing to let them do anything they want in stark contrast to how public gatherings of anything other than right-wingers are treated. If you're a white guy, dressing up like Army Man is enough, in the eyes of law enforcement, to make you some kind of legitimate Citizen Enforcer. Don't tell me there's no issue with policing when black men without guns are routinely shot by police while white men openly carrying loaded rifles in the middle of a civil disturbance walk away without a scratch.

It's almost as if "not sufficiently well armed" is an excuse to justify behavior that functionally endorses what white supremacists are doing. Why did they go lightly armed to a multi-state Nazi rally despite the history of violence from those groups? Whether they do it intentionally or not, police respond to these things markedly differently because hey, it's white boys, they're good boys, we know they don't mean no harm. Maybe some of the weak response is out of support for white supremacy, but I bet 99% of it is the institutionalized racial biases that police in this country simply refuse to look at: a gathering of white people is Not Dangerous, a gathering of black people is.

Stop making excuses. Yeah, Richard Spencer got arrested for 30 whole minutes. Big fucking deal. Yeah, there were police present (standing there watching for the most part). Compare it to the number of people arrested and injured by police at any other public gathering of similar size in this country and the problem will become clear. And once again, remember, one of the mob *literally killed someone* who was there to protest their presence.

Just imagine all the same facts – the guns, the torches, the mob mentality, the murder – if 5,000 black guys took the place of the people who showed up. Tell me how many would have gotten out of there alive, and tell me that the police would have lightly armed themselves and then used that as an excuse to stand around with thumbs in asses.

The National Guard might not even have sufficed for Trump in that case. The regular army would have been called out to kill every last one of the Thugs. And unless you just heard of the United States for the first time today, any part of you eager to deny that is just a voice in your head encouraging you to fool yourself.

47 thoughts on “THAT ARMY-NAVY SURPLUS VEST CARRIES NO LEGAL AUTHORITY”

  • It is difficult to see any good or flattering explanation for how the police handled themselves there yesterday.

  • Okay, Ed. You are not wrong. Police forces are inconsistent, hypocritcal, racist, and cowardly when it comes to use of force. None of that means it would be a good idea to deploy military or paramilitary force against these Nazi assholes.

    This isn't all on Trump. AIUI Governor McAuliffe, a Democrat, would have been within his authority to send in the National Guard with orders to respond with deadly force to any provocation. What then?

    Maybe the whole thing goes off peacefully. Maybe some idiot fires a shot, and a few minutes later there are hundreds of dead people on the ground, not all of them Nazis. That is the kind of event which could literally touch off a civil war. All things considered, I think McAuliffe was right to keep the National Guard off the streets.

    Nazi militias are parading through the streets with firearms, and they have a non-trivial level of sympathy in the police and armed forces. A nation facing this scenario is already deeply fucked. There are no good options for dealing with it; only different varieties of bad.

  • Bravo, Ed.

    Maybe it's because I don't watch tv news, but does the media response to all this seem, uh, muted? Seems like they freaked the fuck out after the same thing happened in Nice last summer. Sure, THAT SOB killed 86 people(!), but still. I guess "Islamo-fascism" bad; all-American fascism is A-OK.

    And to Ed's point, it wasn't all THAT long ago that cops were protecting armed Klan rallies and beating hell out of unarmed civil rights marchers. And somehow I really doubt we'll see AG Sessions going after the assholes who put together the "Unite The Right" "rally" despite it being essentially a multi-state terrorist conspiracy.

  • I'm lucky, I guess, that I don't live in an area where people openly support the assholes that had that rally. Not that we don't have ample evidence of deeply entrenched and institutional racism in my neck of the woods but I've yet to see any Nazi rallies and I'm fairly certain that they would get short shrift from the locals–one can always hope.

  • I just saw about five seconds of that lying sack-of-shit, AG* J. Beauregard Secessionist defending Trumpligulamygdala's idiotic, heartless comments about all of this.

    Toadying fuckbags, every single person who speaks for the Enabler-in-Chief.

    * Apologist General

  • A few people have noted the "police were outgunned by the militia" excuse as a reason they didn't intervene, usually followed by something to the effect that the police needed better equipment.

    The flip side of that perspective is that individuals are allowed to amass such a collection of weapons that law enforcement (at least temporarily) is unwilling to, y'know, enforce the law against them. Yet nobody seems to be mentioning this as a problem.

  • Maybe this will be a wake up call to whites on how police react to different groups of people who exercised their 1st amendment rights to assemble. Who the hell am I kidding they don't care about when police go in on Black protesters like the Wehrmacht going through Poland in fact some if not most get a thrill out of putting the natives in their place. It has been said and research that the reason we have 2nd amendment was because to put down slave revolts. and that's why you get different responses from whites on police tactics

  • @democommie – There are probably more than you think. For that reason I was uncomfortable with all the mockery about the polo shirt nazis following the tiki torch rally. Any of us are far more likely to encounter a white supremacist in a polo shirt and pressed khakis than in any other costume we imagine them wearing.

  • I'm not disputing that they're here (my county went over 60% for Trumpligulamygdala, IIRC). So far we haven't been subjected to dealing with that horseshit.

  • Good post.

    To put even more simply, white men can march with automatic rifles in America and police are not fearful or threatened by that at all.

  • How many of you have heard about the black man beaten to a pulp with poles and clubs, literally around the corner from a police station? (Look at the photo in the article and you see the armed goons guarding the attack against anyone who might help. http://www.theroot.com/white-supremacists-beat-black-man-with-poles-in-charlot-1797790092.) But yet we had breaking news bulletins for every rock thrown in Ferguson, and everyone who said "maybe Black Lives Matter has a point" is labeled a terrorist.

  • The way the cops broke up Occupy Wall Street, all decked out like the soldiers in Starship Troopers, beating & bloodying an assortment of peaceful hippies, also provides an instructive contrast here.

  • "What then?"

    Then a bunch of violent Nazis learn that there are limits to what you can do in public in broad daylight, unlike now, when they have learned that they can literally kill somebody and certainly engage in mass beatings.

  • What JD Says says. It is literally an arms race between law enforcement and the wingnut psychopath populace.

  • That Army Navy surplus vest won't stop a thirty caliber round either. I have often pointed out to these weekend warriors the world of hurt they'd find themselves in were they ever to point their popguns at the US Army. Were the authorities ever to take them seriously. Their confidence is themselves is … misplaced.

    Reminds me of the Ghost Dance, and how that turned out.

  • Even the ones that have served in the military.

    There's a big difference between "I was a badass back in the day" and someone who is currently at that level of training and physical condition.

    Mind you I suspect most of the people who claim to have been badasses probably worked in the motor pool or supply and never fired a shot in anger.

  • If Donald Trump had the strength of will and the desire to end democracy in America, the path would be wide open for him to walk. We got lucky this time that his brain is a mushy bowl of Fruity Pebbles and his only ambition is to see people say nice things about him on the teevee. The next man who walks this path may not be such a fool.

  • As a couple people pointed out, this "militia" was more properly an armed gang. I wish we'd stop misusing the word "militia."

  • Manifest Irony says:

    Here's what I don't understand: Why isn't the protest permit contingent upon there being no weapons? When the dudes dressed in black show up with AR-15s slung on their backs, the whole thing should be called off and declared an illegal assembly. And before you say "Virginia is an open-carry state" and "2nd Amendment blah, blah, blah", don't. If our 1st Amendment rights to peacefully assemble can be abridged by requiring permits, our 2nd Amendment rights damn well should be subject to the same limitations. White supremacists bringing weapons, helmets, shields and the like to a protest sure doesn't look like a peaceful assembly to me.

  • Anybody else remember the protest in Portland in June where the Nazi dipshits got to help the police arrest the leftist counter protesters? It's not an accident by any means.

  • @ Major Kong and Ten Bears

    About the militias, I find it funny that even the guys who were the tip of the spear, forget that they had the other 9/10 backing them up back in the day, and don't now, i.e. Helicopters neither materialize from thin air nor fuel or repair themselves, Intel doesn't collect itself, on and on.

  • But Antifa! seems to be the excuse at the moment. For everything. And it's working. It really depresses me.

  • I guaranfuckingtee you that the Nazi's are well aware of the impact of them coming heavily armed and will be even further emboldened.

    This is a recipe for a catastrophe.

  • The response to Cliven Bundy is another example of different treatment. Armed African-Americans taking over a TVA facility to obtain some free electricity would've been removed by the next morning.

  • I don't know much about UVa in particular, but I do know about attending a land-grant state university. My fellow students used to 'riot' all the time, on provocations as minute as a keg confiscated from underagers at a football game. These riots largely consisted of burning furniture in the streets and smashing up fast-food places. The police would hang back, take photos, and make a few arrests later once stuff calmed down. They weren't about to murder Muffy and Buffy, because the town's economy was based on them. I'm guessing this is a similar college-town police force, used to looking the other way at the shenanigans of those-damn-kids. Not really used to handling a bunch of fucking Nazis.

  • Funny, but what I thought most disturbing were the pictures of a car driving straight into a crowd, killing a young woman. Don't you think you have your priorities a little backwards? A decent American sure as hell would think so — ought not have to even point it out.

  • Since Saturday's domestic terrorist attack, I have been monitoring the response from the right with much dismay. Not politicians, just the general public. I'm sure it comes as no surprise to hear the majority of reactions range from apathy to full blown condoning the violence and in fact encouraging more of the same against "Lefties, SJW's, Antifa, and Communists." They also blame the racial tensions on Obama and BLM (sure, that makes sense) and Saturday was apparently part of a George Soros master plan. Conspiracy theories abound.

    What ISN'T a theory is that many of these armed, angry, white pride motherfuckers think that the only answer is another Civil War, and that one is coming right soon. Until yesterday, it seemed some truly believed that Trump was going to be their White Knight in Shining Armor – their leader in this massive secession. David Duke certainly thought so. He acted like a jilted lover yesterday.

    However, Trump finally denouncing these white nationalists is not going to deter them. These lunatics still believe the only answer is a Civil War. These people own guns – lots of them. Many of them have been hunting and fishing for years so they know how to survive when the local Whole Foods gets bombed. They have gun safes and thousands upon thousands of rounds of ammo, rifles capable of long and short range kills, and are frothing at the mouth waiting for an opportunity to use them. Eight years of a black President have made these closet racists very angry, and they are now out of the closet.

    And at a time when what we need most is sensible, peaceful leadership, we have Trump; a man who couldn't unite two magnets.

  • "But Antifa! seems to be the excuse at the moment. For everything. And it's working. It really depresses me."

    Yes.

    I would ask that all of us stop letting the term "Antifa" stand in for "Anti-Fascist". The term "Antifa" is being used, as was "Thug" and numerous other dogwhistles of the right, to mean "lawless, commie, black, faggish, abortislut, welfare queen" or whatever slur their just too POLITE to use.

    Fuck.That.Shit.

    Anti-fascism is the term and I suggest it be used.

    I also suggest, "Fascist", "Nazi", "Racist", "Terrorist" and "Murderer" be used instead of "Alt-Right" or "Militia". Call them what they are.

  • "When black people riot, "We heard they might have guns" is all the justification needed for any level of violence short of air strikes"

    Even *that* level of restraint sometimes is ignored – see also the MOVE bombing…

    I'd also point out that there are still people in jail facing charges worth 80+ years for protesting the inauguration. There's no need for a hypothetical.

  • @ Trollumination
    State troopers were in C-ville. The mayor said they had the largest assembly of law enforce since 9/11. C-ville is a lot more urban than outsiders expect.

    Virginia Tech and Virginia State are the Land Grant Universities in Virginia. UVA in more or less a public Ivy League School. The only football riots at UVA are when the cheese is not properly paired with the wine.

  • @Andrew; I've been reading some really disgusting stuff about Heather Heyer; that she was "fat" and "ugly" and "didn't have a child so she was worthless as a woman." As Bloom County's residents used to say, "Time for a dandelion break."

  • As Paul @9:55 pointed out, the cops carved into OWS with gleeful abandon, despite it being almost entirely white, middle-class kids. From this I think there's an argument to be made that the real crime of BLM and others was being under armed. American cops have generally proven themselves to be cowards, and most are on a level with these white power clowns.

  • @mojrim; who can forget the iconic picture of the police spraying pepperspray in the face of the unarmed OWS kids just sitting on the ground? Obviously the neonazis were just so terrifying walking around with weapons that the cops had to go hide from them.

  • AAAAAAAND Cheetolini was in the news, bleating about the 'alt-left' who were out there terrorizing the townsfolk by….well, shut up, that's what.

  • Fascist Right-Wing terrorist organizations have always seen themselves as the Vanguard of the coming Conservative overthrow of the US and creation of the Ideal RW State.

    The Oathbreakers, III Inchers, Unconstituitonal Sheriffs, and other militias were at Ferguson as well, not to decry Police (i.e. State) violence against citizens but to shoot blacks.

    a 3 Percenter was just arrested attempting to detonate a bomb in OKC.

    The RW Terrorist Vanguard belives (perhaps correctly) that when Civil War 2.0 starts the Police and Military will rally to them, ala the Turner Diaries…

  • @Major Kong: 'I always thought "anti-fascist" was supposed to be a good thing.'
    You seem to have forgotten the public attitude toward the Lincoln Brigade. They were scorned by a (large?) majority of Americans as a bunch of Communists, who were pretty much hated at the time, but not as much as 15 years later. Also, too, America First, the German-American Bund, Father Coughlin. Even Huey Long was supposedly a fascist, although I'm still trying to understand where that comes from.

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